Mason Hill are a band on the up, and on September 24, they were preparing to play a much anticipated London show at The Underworld Camden. Fans poured into the venue in a steady stream, grabbing their drinks and heading to the main room, which was buzzing with excitement.
In March 2021, Glaswegian rockers Mason Hill stormed in to the UK national album chart at number 19, achieving a coveted top 20 album position with their debut record Against The Wall. The long-awaited album, which has received critical acclaim from both media and fans alike, was also number 1 in the UK rock album chart.
It is an incredible achievement for a new British rock band, during a pandemic when there has been no traditional retail, live shows, or touring opportunities. So to say the band were raring to go on this tour is an understatement, and judging by the reception they got at The Underworld from their fans, the feeling was mutual.
Empyre opened the night, a band that sat ever so slightly out of the box with their unique sound. The music they produced together on stage was wonderfully created with dark undertones. This may not be a band whose record you sling on to sing to in the shower, but it is enjoyable in how it pushes listeners to connect with it more profoundly. They had some fans in the audience, and who knows, maybe they have some more after that performance.
By the time the second act Hollowstar came out on stage, the room looked kind of full, and the audience was ready to get going. Vocalist Joe Bonson knew precisely how to egg them on; he was as slick as that bright red shiny bass that he wields as his weapon of choice. Commenting that every night on tour felt like a Friday night, it was more than obvious that band and fans alike had that Friday feeling and were ready for anything.
The drummer Jack Bonson was even more adept at his role than his frontman brother; in fact, he was mesmerizing to watch. He never missed a beat as he twirled the drumsticks around between hits. The performance was tight, and the whole band vibed off each other to create an atmosphere that leapt off the stage into the crowd.
This atmosphere was most evident during the song ‘Overrated,’ which had the crowd clapping along and those who had never heard it before aghast at how good the guitars sounded. Then, before the band left, they had the audience partake in a tradition of theirs: “Before we leave a stage, we like to make sure the next stage hears us coming,” Bonson boomed, as the crowd chanted, “bye-bye, baby, goodbye,” and then joined in with the last song.
Finally, the moment the crowd had been waiting for was there as Mason Hill walked out onto the stage. A recording played in the background, but it was hard to make out the broadcast over the audience’s cheers. The band went straight into performing ‘No Regret’ followed by ‘DNA,’ and the energy on stage was coupled by that of the audience, and even the extreme heat couldn’t dampen the spirit of the room.
After a few more songs, frontman Scott Taylor took a few minutes to talk to the crowd. He explained that as a child, he had always wanted to be in a real band, and to him, what made a band real was if they had one of those shirts with all their tour dates on the back.
” We have tour shirts!” he screamed excitedly. Some people in the crowd were already wearing them with all the dates and venues on the back. It made no difference to him that they were not arenas; he was grateful to play the rooms they booked in, to people who enjoyed their music, and this joy shone through in their performance.
They continued to play songs including ‘Who We Are’ and the heavier ‘Find My Way,’ during which the band got to show off their talented guitarists making shredding look easy. They then gave an incredible live rendition of their latest single, ‘Broken Son,’ much to the fans’ elation.
Taylor then introduced the next song, which he gave the honour of calling his favourite song in the world. ‘Best of You,’ by the Foo Fighters. As soon as he started playing what was the only cover in their set, all voices in the room sang in unison. It was an incredible moment in an excellent set from a band who are clearly going places.
There were a few more tracks in the set before the inevitable home time came. They seemed to whizz by, and the band who don’t do the pantomime of leaving and waiting for an encore call, announced their last song. ‘Where I Belong’ was the perfect song to send us all off to. As he sang, “carry me home,” everyone knew it was time for the night to end.
When it came down to it, Mason Hill performed with finesse and flair, and they are definitely a band to see live in the future. They are still on tour, so if you live further afield than London, be sure to catch one of their upcoming dates.